International Applicant Without a Private Counselor

Question: I'm an international student planning to apply to universities in the US. My school doesn't have a University Counselor though an external counselor renowned regionally for getting other students into US universities is available on contract. He charges highly and so I opted not to use him. My question is, am I disadvantaged that I am applying alone? I've realized some universities want counselor recommendations and some counselors such as this one have good contacts. Though I can sit standardized tests, get references and apply with the help of teachers I'm wondering if I've dented my chances of acceptance at the top colleges I dream of attending.

Although a private counselor can make your journey smoother by providing a “road map" to help you to navigate the admissions maze, you are absolutely NOT at a disadvantage if you tackle the process without paid assistance. Instead, you can seek out free information online at College Confidential and elsewhere. You should also pay close attention to the advice and instructions for international students that you'll find on college Web sites. But, as you do so, keep in mind that this can be a very inconsistent process, so never assume that every college's policies, requirements, deadlines, etc. are the same.

When it comes to recommendations, colleges actually don't want a reference from a paid independent consultant, and so submitting one might even work against you. References should come from teachers and administrators at your school. Since you don't have a guidance counselor as most U.S. applicants do, you can seek out another school official who knows you well to complete your school forms and to write on your behalf.

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